Legendary Spanish defender Gerard Pique has been told by Xavi that he is no longer required at Barcelona.
It is believed that Pique’s conduct off the pitch has been deemed unprofessional and the 35-year-old’s deteriorating physical condition led to him being seen as surplus to requirements.
According to Spanish news outlet SPORT, Xavi’s main concern with his former team mate is his multiple business interests off the pitch, and it is also believed that the Catalan club owe Pique an estimate of £34.3 million in wages. But director of football Mateu Alemany will look to convince the defender to settle for less than he is owed.
Xavi is believed to have spoken to Pique personally, and told him that he is not going to be part of his plans as he looks to move the club forward.
The Barcelona boss is looking to build his team around a fresh defence that he can put his full faith in, and according to Xavi himself, Pique cannot provide that anymore.
It has been reported that Pique is confident that he can still be a great asset for Xavi and the club, having made 602 appearances for Barcelona, he is unwilling to give up his time at the Camp Nou. He has vowed to train harder than ever and is willing to ditch some of his off field interests.
Pique is the founder of Kosmos Holding, a sport and media investment company. He is the president of the company along side his four partners which includes Hiroshi Mikitani, who is the owner of Barcelona’s sponsor, Rakuten.
Sevilla’s talented French centre back, Jules Kounde is one of the names being picked out by Xavi as Pique’s potential replacement.
However, the likelihood of Pique staying put is believed to be 99%, he is contracted till 2024 and has no interest in calling time on his Barcelona career early.
Pique returned to the club in 2008, after leaving Manchester United. Since then, he has won three Champions League, eight La Liga titles, three Club World Cups, seven Copa del Rey trophies, six Spanish Super Cups and three UEFA Supercups. He has also scored 53 goals during his time with the club.
A truly legendary figure in Spanish football history, but it remains to be seen whether he will be lining up for Barcelona when the season gets underway.